Marital and Family Status Based Illegal Interview Questions in US
Marital and Family Status Based Illegal Interview Questions in US are mainly queries of the employer into the applicant’s personal life not related to work. Those questions may reflect the unwarranted presumptions of the employer regarding the personal life of the candidate.
Under the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 an employer cannot make assumptions relating to the personal life of the applicant. He cannot also ask questions on the candidate’s personal life unconnected with performance or functions of the concerned position. The employer must not embarrass the candidate by posing questions of such nature.
The employer is not entitled to ask the maiden name of the candidate. A woman is not liable to share her marital status with her employer. Instead the employer can ask whether the candidate has gained work experience under any other name.
Similarly the employer cannot ask whether the candidate whether he/she has children or plans to have more. Particularly a woman cannot be called upon to share her pregnancy plans or lack of the same. It is better for the employer to discuss her future plans or long term goals to find out her commitments to work.
In case of applicants with children it would be a mistake on part of the employer to assume that they do not have child care plans in place. Though it is a valid concern of the employer whether family obligations of the employer or kids will stand in the way of the work or overlap with working hours, yet it is advisable to address the root of the issue by asking the candidate about his/her availability or willingness to travel or work overtime hours on short notice.
Questions on parental background of the applicant cannot be asked directly since that is not related to performance in the concerned position. However, to find out if candidate’s family has worked in the particular industry it may be found out by asking how the applicant became interested in the concerned sector.
Examples of improper questions on marital status or family background:-
• Is this your maiden name?
• Do you have or plan to have children?
• Can you get a babysitter on short notice for overtime or travel?
• Do you have kids?
• Who is your closest relative to notify in case of an emergency?
• What do your parents do for a living?
• If you get pregnant, will you continue to work, and will you join after maternity leave?
The employer can easily convert such contentious questions into harmless lawful queries, as follows:-
Examples of proper questions on marital status or family background:-
• Have you worked or under another name?
• Are you willing to work overtime or travel?
• Are you willing to relocate?
• You'll be required to travel or work overtime on short notice. Is this any issue you?
• What is your experience with "x" age group?
• In case of emergency, whom we should notify?
• Tell me how you became interested in the "x" industry.
• What are your long-term career goals or future plans